In a year of retail renaissance in Birmingham, amid a host of high profile developments, Great Western Arcade is re-affirming its position as the home of unique retail having recently welcomed a new Centre Manager.


James Roberts has been appointed by CBRE Global Investors to manage Great Western Arcade and its neighbouring Ten Colmore Row offices. CBRE Global Investors acquired Great Western Arcade and Ten Colmore Row on behalf of the CBRE UK Property Fund, in August 2014. This appointment is a further initiative to continue developing the retail experience and managing the business partners at both venues. James will oversee operations and facilities management, and help drive both businesses forward.

“Our primary objective is to reposition Great Western Arcade as the home of unique retail, offering the best Birmingham brands. We are home of ‘hidden gems’ and we’re creating a climate for smaller retailers to thrive in this fast-paced competitive marketplace,” said James.

“I have joined CBRE Global Investors at a really exciting time; there is so much happening in the city and both the retail and property markets are on the up. However, I’m dedicated to making sure that amid huge developments and big retailers coming to the city – with Grand Central and The New Mailbox opening this summer – there is still a place for unique retailers to flourish. They are the lifeblood of Birmingham’s retail economy and are helping to attract national and international visitors; we’re seeing this across our entire retailer offer. It’s key, for me, that Great Western Arcade plays its part for both the visitor market but also the businesses and workforces located here,” he continued.

This month sees the opening of Treat, a Greek deli by Kalamata Superfoods, offering authentic Greek coffee, traditional pies, natural juices and smoothies, fresh salads, spoon sweets, and much more. There are also a number of retailers due to open in the arcade in the coming months, including a new womenswear store and ladies’ fashion accessory store.

Retail strategy experts Insite Asset Management will work alongside James in his new role to ensure that Great Western Arcade remains a competitive force in the marketplace. Having worked on assets including MetQuarter Liverpool, Preston’s Fishergate Centre, and The Quedam Centre in Yeovil, Insite Asset Management is best placed to drive Great Western Arcade’s new retail strategy forward. The team’s aim is to introduce new brands to Birmingham’s home of hidden gems and maximise CBRE’s investment plans.

“Whilst we’re looking to bring new brands in to the arcade, we remain selective to ensure they complement our existing offer. Alongside this, we are also concentrating on creating an environment for existing retailers to expand. Projekt21 has just moved into a new unit and we have another two retailers taking on further premises to aid expansion plans. In addition, we’re in discussions with some really exciting brands who are looking to join the arcade,” James concluded.

Grade II-listed Great Western Arcade sits in the heart of Birmingham city centre, between Colmore Row and Temple Row. With over 35 stores occupying 150,000 sq ft retail space, it welcomes weekly footfall of 73,000. The arcade not only benefits from shopping trade, but is also on the doorstep of 35,000 employees in the Colmore BID area. Covering 21,457 sq ft of office accommodation over six floors, the building is home to Trowers & Hamlins, Skanska Construction and UBS Wealth Management, and recently underwent a five-year refurbishment programme worth £2m.

James Roberts joins as Centre Manager, following a competitive interview process. He joins from Bruntwood, where he joined in June 2012 as Operations Manager and became Property Manager in April 2014. Previous to that, he worked for Westfield in Australia and was also Facilities Manager for Amey.

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